Jesus commanded believers to love one another just as He loved us. What are 4 ways in which we can show our love for one another?
Forgive One Another
One of the greatest things we can do and perhaps the hardest thing we will do is to forgive one another. It is one thing to forgive but it is impossible to forget, even so, Jesus said that we are to forgive one another just as God has forgiven us. Paul writes that we should be “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Col 3:13). Paul doesn’t say whether the compliant is valid or not or if the complaint has been forgiven or not but simply be “forgiving each other [just] as the Lord has forgiven you” and in the same way “you also must forgive.” This doesn’t mean bringing it up over and over again but giving up your right to be right which means we are to be “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph 4:32). The word “forgive” means to release or let go of a thing or to put it this way.for giving it away.
Encourage One Another
Too often we are quick to criticize and hesitant to encourage or compliment someone. This is one of those things that is free to give away and you have an unending supply to give encouragement means to literally give to them courage. To encourage someone is to give someone hope or support and is particularly important when someone is discouraged (or literally lacks courage). Did you know that the Greek word for “encourage” is “parakaleo” and is a compound word of “coming along side of” (para) “to implore” (kaleo) so if you encourage someone you are coming along side of them and imploring them to keep on keeping on. Paul writes “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thess 5:11) so encouraging someone is really building up another person and the Body of Christ, the church.
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Bear One Another’s Burdens
Every one of us in the Body of Christ has had to suffer in this life but as the saying goes, “a joy shared is doubled, a burden shared is halved” and so it is if we help to bear one another’s burdens. We can lighten the load of someone who is experiencing some great loss or undergoing a great trial, even if it’s just sitting there and listening. Paul writes to the church in Galatia to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” and so if we bear one another’s burden, we are fulfilling the Law of Christ. The word used for “bear” is “bastazō” and this means “to take up with the hands” and “to put one’s self under to carry.” That’s it! Bearing one another’s burden is taking it up and carrying part of the load by being sympathetic, by listening, by caring, and carrying part of that load.
Confessing Sin and Praying for One Another
I believe we give others hope when we are transparent and confess our faults and sins to one another because this makes others feel that they are not alone in their own struggles with sin. And to pray for one another shows that we care enough to help them with the sins that they have confessed. There is nothing that turns people off to Christianity more than to be a “holier than thou” Christian. Many people I witness to I freely confess my faults and what this transparency does is break down the wall that seems to separate Christians from the rest of the world. If we are transparent enough with our lives then they’ll see that they don’t have to be perfect and since they are not expected to be perfect to be saved it might make them think it’s possible to be saved and think more seriously about coming to Jesus Christ for help and confessing their own sins. James admonishes us to “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (James 5:16).
We cannot possibly love one another the way we ought to without the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit but it can be done. Pray to God to be more Christ-like, stay in His Word, and you can be more loving to one another. That kind of love is contagious and it might be just what your lost friends are looking for.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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